IPM Policy for Indoor Pest Control
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a protocol that encourages the use of least toxic alternatives first (see below), and the use of more toxic alternatives only as a last resort.
IPM is most appropriate for indoor use because of the plentiful opportunities for non-toxic pest mitigation which it promotes, and the significant health implications of using toxic pesticides inside where people live, work, eat and play.
Sealing pest access routes, removing their food sources, improving housekeeping and using non-toxic methods such as diatomaceous earth (DE) and boric acid can all contribute to significant reductions in indoor pest problems.
Least toxic pesticides include boric acid, desiccant dusts (diatomaceous earth and silica gel), non-volatile insect and rodent baits in tamper resistant containers (or for crack and crevice treatment), microbe-based pesticides, pesticides made with essential oils (not including pyrethrums) without toxic synergists, and materials for which the inert ingredients are non-toxic and fully disclosed.
The term 'least toxic pesticides' does not include a pesticide that is:
determined by EPA to be a possible, probable, or known carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen, reproductive toxin, developmental neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, or immune system toxin;
a pesticide in EPA's toxicity category I or II; and
any application of the pesticide using a broadcast spray, dust, tenting, fogging, or baseboard spray application.
Thanks to our friends at Beyond Pesticides for this guidance.
Ross, CA has a comprehensive policy for indoor IPM, and also designates turf grass areas, playgrounds, and picnic table areas on town property as pesticide free.
Needham, MA includes extensive information about IPM on its website, including policy goals, practices, and selection guidelines.
The Centers for Disease Control provides multiple resources on IPM, including free online training emphasizing the use of integrated pest management to address public health pests and vectors that spread diseases.
Beyond Pesticides, a non-profit and recognized leader in pesticide reduction, outlines the attributes of a good indoor IPM program and educates about chemical dependent programs masquerading as IPM.
EPA’s introduction to IPM reviews the basic principles of this methodology, with a focus on pest prevention.
For more information on the health implications of exposure to pesticides, please see the web pages of Grassroots Environmental Education.
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